My Itinerary ({: itinerary.length :})

{: event.badge :}

{: event.title :}

{: event.dates :} {: event.dateDescription :}
{: item :}
Suitable for {: item :}
1001 Elmerthe Patchwork Elephant
Added on 29th July 2020

Author and Illustrator David McKee
First published 1968
Publisher Andersen Press

Elmer is a popular and instantly recognisable character who shows us that it's okay to be different.

Story

Elmer isn’t like ordinary elephants. He is a beautifully colourful patchwork elephant and he loves a joke! But one day Elmer grows tired of being different and disguises himself by rolling in grey, elephant coloured, berry juice. Nobody recognises him! It isn’t long though, until his true colours shine through.

Why we chose it

Elmer the patchwork elephant is one of the best know and best loved children’s picture books characters. The bright colours, Elmer’s sense of fun and the message that it’s ok to be different have made him a firm favourite with children and parents for over 30 years.

Where it came from

David McKee(1935) is a British writer and illustrator. He explains that initially Elmer was written in response to a racist remark made in reference to his daughter. Inspiration for many of his characters come from his extended family including his ventriloquist uncle, although more recently he is inspired by his three children and grandchildren. McKee says that he has no idea why he drew Elmer as an elephant. He just liked drawing elephants at the time.

Where it went next

The Elmer books are now published in over 50 different languages and Elmer is a large merchandise brand. There is even an ‘Elmer Day’ in May! In 2019 Elmer the Patchwork Elephant Show went on tour in the UK and Andersen Press have recently announced a collaboration with award winning animation studio, Factory, to produce a new animated TV series of Elmer the Patchwork Elephant. There is also an Elmer app called Elmer’s Photo Patchwork, which encourages children to use nature as inspiration for their creativity.

Associated stories

David McKee has written and illustrated over 50 picture books including King Rollo, Mr Benn and Not Now Bernard.

Added on 29th July 2020

Author and Illustrator David McKee
First published 1968
Publisher Andersen Press